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The Bible does not explicitly teach the abuse of nature. In fact, many passages in the Bible highlight the importance of stewardship and responsible care for the environment. For example, in Genesis 2:15, God commands Adam to “tend and keep” the garden of Eden, which suggests a responsibility to care for the natural world.
However, it is also true that some interpretations and applications of certain biblical passages have been used to justify the exploitation and abuse of nature. For example, some people have argued that the biblical mandate to “subdue” the earth (Genesis 1:28) implies a right to exploit natural resources without regard for the environment or the consequences of our actions.
It is important to note that the Bible is a complex and multifaceted text that has been interpreted and applied in many different ways throughout history. As such, it is not accurate to make broad generalizations about what the Bible “teaches” on any given topic without careful consideration of the cultural, historical, and literary contexts in which the text was written and received.
To answer whether the Bible teaches the abuse of nature, we need to consider two truths that balance each other.
First, God gave humans the power to use nature for our needs and purposes. He commands us to have dominion over nature, including the ability to eat plants and animals for food. Jesus demonstrated this power in events like calming a storm and causing a fig tree to wither. However, good stewards are expected to manage these resources well and maximize production.
Second, God opposes the abuse of nature. Even though we have dominion over nature, we do not own it because the earth belongs to the Lord. We are given the natural world as a stewardship, not as a possession. As stewards of God’s creation, we are expected to apply sound principles of land and resource management. The Bible teaches that God will hold us accountable for how we manage these resources.
Nature is good because it was created by God and pleases Him. God designed the natural world with an orderly structure, and violating that structure is sinful. While the natural world suffers because of the fall of humanity, Scripture affirms God’s providential care for nature. Additionally, all of creation will share in redemption, with the promise of a new heaven and new earth.